The Midlands needs major transport spending, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce & Industry has told the Government.
The plea comes in an eight-pronged submission of business priorities made ahead of Chancellor Gordon Brown's Pre-Budget Statement on December 6.
The Chamber says the economy, transport, pensions, the default retirement age, age and ethnic diversity, energy, local government reform and finance and skills are the issues most affecting business in the West Midlands.
Charlotte Ritchie, head of policy at the Chamber, said: "We have tried to be positive in our submission.
"We get tired, and I am sure it goes for Government circles too, of hearing people and organisations criticising a lack of business initiatives without offering any alternative thinking."
The Chamber has told the Treasury that cashflow has become a priority issue for both manufacturing and service sector firms. The increasing cost of raw materials and the volatile nature of energy prices are putting pressure on companies to push up their own charges.
But despite those difficulties and troubles in exporting because of the high pound and overseas competition, business confidence in the West Midlands remains high with many companies reporting that turnover and profitability should increase over the next 12 months.
On transport, the Chamber says infrastructure improvements are key.
It names five areas for improvement – a long-range air hub to allow direct access to and from locations around the globe; a #350 million investment in the regeneration of New Street station; so-called "quick wins" on the roads brought about by an improved planning culture at local authority level; the implementation of phase one of the Midlands Rail capacity study; and development at four key road sectors in the region.
Ms Ritchie said: "We also want the Government to put into force a 30-year transport plan for the UK which will bring long-term strategy for infrastructure development across the country."
The Chamber says there is an urgent need to promote an environment where a pension is seen as a major employee benefit that employers can use to attract and retain high calibre candidates.
It calls for a four-year lead-in period for any national minimum employer contribution scheme so the impact on business would be lessened.
It underlines that small businesses in particular will need assistance in setting up the scheme and are less likely to be able to absorb that cost themselves, and it says a special package of support measures for small and micro businesses will be crucial.
The Chamber recommends that the default retirement age should be raised to 67 because more and more businesses are realising the benefits of employing mature workers.
Ms Ritchie said: "Businesses welcome the freedom and autonomy of being able to set retirement ages but only where they are necessary for a business objective."
As far as age and ethnic diversity are concerned, Ms Ritchie said: "Businesses must be given the support they need to recruit and retain a cosmopolitan workforce.
"It is important that individuals of all ethnic backgrounds are encouraged from an early age to obtain the skills and knowledge needed to play a full part in the labour market."
On energy the Chamber has told the Chancellor that the region's businesses cannot afford to be competitively disadvantaged by costs.
It wants the Government to use tax breaks to encourage companies to be more energy efficient even though many are already doing their utmost to reduce the burden.
Under the heading of Local Government Reform and Finance and following the publication of the Local Government White Paper in October, the Chamber asks the Government to clearly set out the parameters within which powers will be devolved.
Ms Ritchie said: "A framework and timescale for devolution needs to be plainly established as well as detail of what powers will be devolved.
"A decision on whether city regions will provide the appropriate infrastructure for devolution and enhanced powers is also necessary."
Among powers West Midlands business wants transferred are discretion to determine planning applications of strategic importance to the regions and the ability to develop a range of affordable housing to attract and retain highly skilled workers.
Ms Ritchie said: "The English regions have for too long been disadvantaged by the lack of public investment compared to London and the South-east.
"Fiscal tools at the city-regional level to define and fund local priorities would be necessary for city regional governance to succeed."
As for skills, the Chamber is calling for widespread reform and cites the difficulties in Birmingham which is facing labour market changes, mounting international competition and age and ethnicity transition.
It wants "coherent and balanced funding compared with the incoherent, over complex and burdensome system of skills training".
Ms Ritchie said: "There's an old adage that companies don't vote but people do and sometimes business feels that that attitude still exists in Government circles.
"What that maxim fails to take into account is that if businesses are doing well, the employees feel good too." And if the Government of the day has helped that business be successful through whatever means, the employees feel more mindful towards it.
"It is imperative that Government takes the views of business into account when setting the Budget."