Business council chief executive Chris Faulks.

Business council chief executive Chris Faulks says we should not wait 17 years for the rail link.

Canberra Business Council says tenders should be called now for a high-speed rail link between Sydney and Canberra, rather than waiting 17 years.

Labor's High Speed Rail Advisory Group recommends building a $23 billion link from Sydney to Canberra first, to create enough momentum for the overall east coast project, rather than focusing on a 30-year time frame for the entire $114 billion project.

The latest report sets a much quicker timeframe of 17 years to fire the public's imagination.

Business council chief executive Chris Faulks said there was no need to wait even the 17 years.

''In France, for example, their first stage took three years, from the time they decided to do it until when their first passenger was on there. It was exactly the same in Spain.''

Calling for tenders would flush out consortia who would do economic modelling and get the ball rolling.

Transport planners have so far chosen Civic as a station location, even though Canberra Airport has offered to build one at the airport.

Ms Faulks said the business community favoured the airport station rather than Ainslie Avenue, the advisory group's preferred location, because it would connect with international flights, possibly as early as next year.

''To have that connection from direct flights onto high-speed rail will enable Canberra to act as an overflow airport, while Sydney determines where its second airport is going to be and builds it,'' Ms Faulks said.

Ordinarily, the business council would support the central business district for a railway station.

But Canberra is made up of five town centres and the parliamentary triangle and depends heavily on cars, which would need ample parking, not readily available in Ainslie Avenue.

''In addition, the report seems to base its findings on the population of the ACT alone in order to conclude that Civic would be the optimal site. It needs to consider surrounding towns and regions, such as Queanbeyan, whose residents would be more likely to use high-speed rail via a station at the Airport. Canberra's immediate catchment area is home to about 600,000 people.''

Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron believes high-speed rail will boost the regional economy so much it would not matter where the station was located.

''Certainly we would see a reduction of air travel Canberra-Sydney, but there is no question, we would see a greater boost through more flights to more destinations, including globally.''

Ms Faulks said in the event of a change of government, the business council was confident the Coalition would arrive at the same support for high-speed rail, even though its policies centred on roads.

Liberal candidate for the rail corridor electorate of Hume Angus Taylor said Labor's vision for high-speed rail was about getting planes out of the sky.

''But when you look at great rail projects around the world it's always about regional development. When you build these rail corridors, you inevitably build new cities and that is a critical part of the exercise, and in this work [the latest report], it is just an afterthought.''