Only ten per cent of West Midlands drivers are willing to accept congestion charging on all roads, according to an influential survey.
The results of the RAC poll are a blow for the seven West Midlands authorities which are about to begin a joint feasibility study into road pricing in the conurbation.
However, the survey also shows West Midlands motor-ists are the most likely to accept road pricing providing it comes with a substantial package of public transport and road improvements.
It has long been understood the Government is keen to see the region piloting the scheme before a national roll-out during the next decade.
Recently, the Department for Transport broke cover by clearly courting the West Midlands over competing conurbations by giving it more than twice the money - £2.6 million - it requested to carry out the study.
The RAC survey, which reveals a national average of just 11 per cent willing to accept tolling on all roads, does contain some evidence of softening attitudes towards some form of road pricing in the West Midlands.
Thirty seven per cent of local motorists would be willing to pay to drive in city centres, while 44 per cent would be prepared to pay to use the motorway network.
It also reveals that motor-ists in the Midlands are most likely to be won over to the principle of road pricing if they see an equivalent reduction in other motoring taxes, with 71 per cent of motorists agreeing that this would make tolls more acceptable.
Currently, there is no firm Government commitment to such a revenue neutral scheme.
It is understood the team working on plans for road pricing in the West Midlands was encouraged by the finding that 68 per cent of motor-ists - the highest proportion in the UK - were more in favour if the scheme were introduced as part of a package including better roads, investment in public transport and more effective traffic management.
The Government has already stated substantial investment will be available from its new Transport Innovation Fund to pilot regions for transport projects.
A spokesman for the West Midlands authorities said: "The RAC Foundation survey demonstrates that drivers in the West Midlands view tackling traffic congestion as a top priority, confirming our own research.
"We are now pushing ahead with a major feasibility study that will thoroughly examine traffic congestion and investigate a range of possible solutions.
"Road pricing will be one of the potential solutions investigated, but we will also look closely at the role improvements to and investment in public transport - including buses and light rail - have to play in tackling our congestion problem, as well exploring how to make best use of our existing road space."
Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said: "It's good news that the West Midlands authorities have set a high priority on building a consensus among local road users.
"However, the fact that only one in ten local motorists in our poll said they would be prepared to pay charges suggests an uphill struggle. We urge both the local authorities to continue to take seriously motorists' concerns," he said. ..SUPL: