But shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers was scathing of the new document. She pointed out that the Conservatives had proposed a similar high-speed link in December last year.
"Ruth Kelly is running scared. She sneaked this out on a day when no one could drag her into parliament to hold her to account on her so-called strategy," said Villiers.
Road pricing will remain confined to local pilot projects such as those proposed in Greater Manchester and Cambridge, funded through the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).
The Liberal Democrats criticised the government's lack of ambition on road pricing.
"The Government should back a national road-pricing scheme, rather than a cluster of local projects," said Liberal Democrat shadow transport secretary, Susan Kramer.