The Scottish Government has pledged to work with Moray Council to prepare a city deal for the region.
The authority is putting together a bid to tap into tens of millions of pounds to create a job and industry boom.
Yesterday the public endorsement of the proposals was hailed as evidence it was “gathering momentum”.
Moray Council convener Allan Wright met with the UK Government’s Scottish Secretary, David Mundell, last week to update him on the bid.
He said: “It still has a long way to go but it is encouraging. We are gathering momentum and we are determined to take it forward. The Cairngorms National Park has endorsed it and we are always talking to partners.
“The Scottish Secretary invited us to work on the growth bid. I’ve told him exactly where we’re up to and he will give it due consideration. The public support from the Scottish Government is certainly good news.”
At the heart of the proposals is the £12million Barmuckity industrial estate next to the A96 on the outskirts of Elgin, which could create up to 4,000 jobs through a hotel, housing and shops.
John Cowe, chairman of Moray Economic Partnership, has helped spearhead the bid to ensure the region gets “its slice of the cake” to create industrial land to build the economy.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead asked for the Scottish Government’s backing for the bid at the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
He said: “We need a renewed focus on Scotland’s regional policy as Brexit fast approaches, given that many regional funds flow from Europe.
“City deals for Aberdeen, Inverness and elsewhere, along with the islands initiative, are big steps forward.
“We also need bespoke measures for places such as Moray, which are not covered by those initiatives but face similar challenges.”
Mr Lochhead urged Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to make the case for Moray at Westminster based on the “enormous revenues” from the whisky industry.
City deals are funding packages from the UK and Scottish governments to deliver a series of projects in a specific region.
Mr Mackay said: “We should re-calibrate our economic policies in light of circumstances in order to support every part of Scotland. On a city deal, I am happy to work with Moray Council to consider a specific request.”