Luton Borough and Central Bedfordshire councils have received £80.3m of government funding for the proposed Luton-Dunstable Busway and will now look for a contractor to build the scheme.
Detailed design work is expected to begin in April, with site works starting during the summer.
The 13.4km busway will mostly be segregated, and run from Blackburn Road in Houghton Regis, through Dunstable, into Luton town centre and on to Kimpton Road. The route will then continue on the highway to Luton Airport.
Some 265 bus stops will be upgraded with real time passenger information, raised pavements for level boarding, and many with new shelters.
The services will be provided by specially-adapted buses which can run on their own track as well as public roads.
The scheme is scheduled for opening in 2012.