Ministers were urged to let the West Midlands lead the way in creating Britain's first city region, in a House of Commons hearing yesterday.
An inquiry heard that proposals already drawn up by eight councils would boost the economy, allow much-needed transport improvements to go ahead, and establish Birmingham as one of Europe's great cities.
But Government needed to give its backing so the West Midlands could get to work, said Simon Murphy, director of the City Region Partnership.
He was speaking to the House of Commons Select Committee for Local Government and the Regions, which is looking into the future of local government.
Mr Murphy is employed by councils in Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Telford, which want to seize control of hundreds of millions of pounds from unelected quangos.
Instead of electing new politicians, the city region would have an executive board containing the council leaders of every authority involved.
Each would be given an issue to take responsibility for, such as transport, housing, economic growth, skills, planning and culture.
The total budget could be more than £675 million, Mr Murphy said - most of it taken from the unelected bodies which run public services now.
Chief executives from the councils taking part would also work together on a separate board along with leaders of bodies such as Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency.
There would also be a role for less senior councillors from across the West Midlands to scrutinise the way money was spent, and MPs would have the right to be consulted.
Mr Murphy said: "At the moment we are getting a hearing. But we do want to say to Government, this is a model that can work, and can achieve more quickly aims which we and the Government both share."
He added: "We should be given the trust and freedom to make these decisions ourselves and, in due course, to have existing funding schemes channelled through the city region so that money can be invested more efficiently and effectively."
However, the proposals were challenged by committee member Clive Betts (Lab Sheffield Attercliffe), who said it assumed council leaders would agree with each other on major issues and warned it might lead to "lowest common denominator" decisions.
Mr Murphy said West Midlands authorities already had a history of reaching agreement on difficult decisions.
They had worked together on the development of Birmingham International Airport and the Midland Metro, even though some councils stood to benefit more than others. The region's submission to the committee also inadvertently highlighted a potential stumbling block. While it referred to Birmingham as "the regional capital", it made no reference to the name of the city region, talking instead about "our city region".
Earlier references to a "Birmingham city region" in a Government report led to outraged complaints from Black Country MPs, suggesting deciding on a name could be a sensitive issue.
By contrast, evidence submitted to the select committee by Leeds City Council, which is working with neighbouring authorities to form a city region of its own, referred openly to "the Leeds city region".
Mr Murphy said the city region's budget would be "modest" at first.
But asked if he agreed with predictions it would reach £675 million, he suggested it might be higher.
"That may be slightly on the conservative side," he said.
He also suggested the city region would have its own transport board - allowing decisions such as the refurbishment of New Street Station in Birmingham to be made more quickly.
He said: "If anything is holding back our city region it is realising the full potential of the transport network."
The Government is expected to publish a local government White Paper with details of its plans for city regions in the autumn.