Digby Jones, the director-general of the CBI, has called on the government to ensure that at least £250bn of public and private money is spent on transport over the next 10 years.
Jones said that the business community and the public at large were becoming increasingly impatient with the slow pace of improvements.

Massive investment would be required between 2005 and 2015 if the government's revised 10-year transport plan was to be a success, he said, noting: "We have a first-class economy and it deserves a first-rate transport system, not the substandard infrastructure that is letting down the whole country."

Jones said that he was not asking the government to "break the bank". He said: "The scale of spending that business is asking for is a relatively small price to pay to deliver the transport system that the fourth largest economy in the world deserves."

The CBI estimate, which is part of its transport spending submission, is £70bn more than the £180bn earmarked in the government's original 10-year plan. The CBI emphasised that this was now the minimum required to make acceptable progress.

Jones said: "An efficient transport system is vital for individual companies, for jobs and for the prospects of the wider UK economy. Firms must be able to get goods to market and people to work."