Almost all businesses in Britain would support some form of road pricing in an attempt to ease congestion, according to new research.
A British Chambers of Commerce survey put the cost to the business sector of gridlocked roads at #17 billion a year.
Railway services were seen as unreliable, costly and not a viable alternative to travelling by car.
Almost 90 per cent of BCC members said they would be willing to consider congestion charging if they could be sure it would produce results.
The survey was welcomed by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which is taking part in a West Midlands study into road pricing.
BCI chief executive Jerry Blackett, who is also chairman of the West Midlands Business Transport Group, said: "The results of the survey reinforce the priority businesses place on busting congestion. Transport is an enabler, not an end in itself, so anything we do must increase and not decrease competitiveness."
A Department for Transport report published last week showed that commuters in the West Midlands take longer to travel to work than those in competing regions such as Merseyside or Newcastle.
Roads in the region are more congested than any part of the country except London.
Delays faced by employees travelling to work and the length of time taken to send freight by road costs the West Midlands economy #2.2 billion a year.
Mr Blackett said businesses would only accept congestion charging if a direct link to greater competitiveness could be proven.
He added: "If road pricing is introduced, business must be fully involved in the decision of how much and what time of day it will be charged.
"Birmingham Chamber’s work on the Transport Innovation Fund study is proof we are already involved in that but we need to continue that work.
"There also needs to be a national plan. We can’t have the West Midlands with the most expensive roads in the UK just because it is the most congested. That will seriously damage the competitiveness and attractiveness of the region as a place to do business."
The Chamber is insisting that the West Midlands will still need additional roads and motorway capacity to cope with demand, even if congestion charging is introduced.
Mr Blackett said: "Road pricing is only one part of the debate, though. Improved public transport is a necessity if people are to be able to give up their cars, while there is still an argument for building more roads.
"We do not subscribe to the theory that we can manage away congestion by price and thus free up roads completely. We still need more motorway miles in particular because we are way behind our main competitors in Europe."n The growth of Britain’s cities and towns is being held back by a lack of high-quality infrastructure and decades of under-investment in transport, a newly-formed MPs’ group warned.
The All-Party Urban Development Group will this week launch its first inquiry into the problem in the hope of persuading Ministers to give priority to infrastructure projects, such as new urban transport schemes.
Initial research conducted for the inquiry suggest that Britain suffers from a "massive infrastructure funding gap", spending 10-20 per cent less per head of population on transport each year than comparable countries like France and Germany.
Group chairman Clive Betts, Labour MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, said: "Our cities and towns need to invest more in infrastructure. There are clear concerns that the funding of transport and other infrastructure is too centralised." , with too many decisions taken in Whitehall and money wasted on abandoned schemes like Merseytram and the Leeds Supertram.
"Central Government needs to prioritise transport funding and devolve more of it to our cities and towns. Local councils also need more freedom to part-finance infrastructure, alongside the private sector.
"Now is the time to act. Britain’s future economic success depends on it.