Transport needs investment of, at least, £300 billion over the next decade, CBI chief Digby Jones has warned politicians.
He warned that no party should assume they had the business vote in the bag.
The Director General of the CBI was launching a report setting out the issues business wants to see addressed in the General Election campaign.
He said: "I want the voice of business to be at the heart of the 2005 General Election.
"Business is the only wealth creator in our society. UK jobs depend on business succeeding in the UK. UK public services depend on the tax paid by UK business. The Government of the day must provide the support and conditions firms need to succeed. The business vote is up for grabs and deserves to be fought for. Each political party should pursue a pro-growth, pro- jobs, pro- business agenda."
The UK's infrastructure and skills- base must be improved to combat competitive pressure from China and India, he warned.
Sir Digby said: "Over the next five to ten years, the competitive threat from emerging markets will transform radically the way business is done." He called on the Government to commit, at least, £300 billion of public and private investment in UK transport more than the next decade. He also called on it to ensure, at least, 2.5 per cent of GDP is spent on research and development by 2014 and to invest in improving the basic skills of 15 million adults.
Over the lifetime of the next Parliament, the Government should reduce the tax burden on industry and protect the UK from EU rules limiting the hours employees are allowed to work, he said. And he called for the Government to introduce a new "golden rule" to prevent public sector spending exceeding 40 per cent of GDP.