It would be "perilous" for politicians to ignore transport during the General Election campaign, CBI director general Sir Digby Jones said today.
Tucking transport away in a box marked "too difficult or too expensive" would cut no ice with voters, Sir Digby added.
In a pre-election transport manifesto, the CBI called for £300 billion of public and private sector investment in the next ten years.
It added that transport would need £60 billion more than under current Government plans.
Sir Digby said: "A better transport system is crucial for business. But it is also a key issue on which parties will be judged. Voters may not regularly use hospitals or schools, but transport touches their lives every day and it's among the largest single items of household spending.
"Evidence suggests voters are more dissatisfied with transport than health or education. Over half the workforce find their journey to work more stressful than four years ago. Politicians ignore transport at their peril."
The CBI called on politicians to spell out how they expect the transport system to look in 20-30 years' time and develop an implementation plan to show how that can be delivered.
Sir Digby went on: "Business frustration over transport is at an all-time high. Our failing transport system adds to costs and counts against the UK when global businesses decide where to place their investment and jobs.
"We have been promised radical, transforming improvements in the past but too few of them have been delivered."
The CBI said the extra money needed for transport could be afforded through public spending without new taxes. That would mean transport receiving more of the benefit from wider government efficiency gains and forecast economic growth.
Sir Digby Jones said: "The lesson here is not that we should walk away from setting long-term commitments but that we have to get better at following through to delivery.
"Developments such as airport expansion, congestion charging and the M6 toll road show it can be done.
"The next Government needs to show more political will, put in more effort and stick with it, so it can build on this over the longer term."