A long-awaited road link to reduce congestion on the M6 cannot be built until a decision is made about a proposed toll road to Manchester, Ministers admitted.
MPs from across the region have urged the Department of Transport to press ahead with building a direct link between the M6 Toll and the M54.
At the moment, thee only way to get between the M54 and M6 Toll is to go via the M6, causing extra congestion.
But speaking in the House of Commons, Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman said work on a direct link could not begin until a decision had been made on a new toll road, to be called the M6 Expressway, between Birmingham and Manchester.
Ministers are expected to announce this summer whether to go ahead with the proposal, or to widen the existing M6 instead.
The M54 runs for 19 miles, linking Telford, in Shropshire, to a junction with the M6 just south of Cannock in Stafford-shire, near Wolverhampton.
Dr Ladyman was pressed in the House of Commons by Staffordshire MP Michael Fabricant (Con Lichfield), who said: "The link would benefit everywhere west of the M6 Toll, so when will it be ready?"
The Minister told him: "We have already recognised that, in principle, we would be minded to support the scheme, but we must consider the details.
"In particular, one of the things that we must decide before we design such a scheme is where the new capacity between the Midlands and the North-west will be provided - will the M6 be widened, or will there be a parallel toll road? Until we make that decision, we cannot decide on the design of the junction."
But other MPs piled pressure on the Minister to ensure the link was built soon.
David Wright (Lab Telford) said: "It would be particularly advantageous to local business in Telford and across Shrop-shire if those links could be made."