Birmingham has been promised millions of pounds for public transport if it becomes a pilot area for congestion charging.
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling on a visit to the city yesterday said there would be "a lot in it" for whichever area trialled the controversial scheme.
However, Birmingham City Council's transport chief yesterday branded the Government's satellite-based 'pay as you drive' scheme as "unfair".
Coun Len Gregory later back tracked from the comments and declared the city ready to listen to any proposals but called for Mr Darling to make clear all financial implications to the motorist.
Birmingham's professional sector described Coun Gregory's comments as sending the "wrong message" to Government and called for the pilot to be in Birmingham so the city could shape the system to meet its own needs.
Mr Darling told The Birmingham Post that several conurbations had already informally approached the Government expressing a desire to pilot the scheme.
"A lot more work has yet to be done on this but I can say there would be a lot in it for the area that piloted the scheme," he said.
"There would be money for public transport and traffic management.
"We encourage conurbations to come forward with proposals and the Government will make a lot of money available."
In a keynote speech today, Mr Darling will set out his desire for a public debate on the satellite-based scheme.
A peak-hour figure of £1.34 per mile for the most congested roads has been floated although Mr Darling has distanced himself from any specific figures and costs.
Coun Gregory (Con Billesley) initially described the plans as "unpopular and almost certainly seen as unfair".
However, he later modified his stance and told The Birmingham Post: "If you abolish road tax and the tax on petrol you would be looking at an average charge of £1 an hour just to claw back the lost revenue.
"I would call on the Government to explain exactly how this money will be found if rival motorists pay something like 2p per mile?"
Passenger transport executive Centro, which represents all seven district authorities in the West Midlands conurbation, said the road pricing policy for the region would be part of July's Local Transport Plan submission for Government cash.
"Doing nothing about congestion is not an option in the West Midlands but exactly what public transport and traffic management schemes we want have yet to be decided."
Last month, the DfT told officials to rewrite the West Midlands LTP to include demand management schemes. The first draft failed to mention road pricing, despite it having high Government priority.
Simon Murphy, Birmingham Forward chief executive, said Birmingham as the second city must be given the chance to pilot the scheme.
"This is a problem that simply isn't going to go away and Birmingham has to be at the forefront of things," said the head of the city's professional sector lobby group.