The controversial plan to turn 9.4 miles of unused rail lines through New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford into a bus line cleared a major hurdle on Friday.
The State Bond Commission approved nearly $90 million in bonds to begin construction on a project opponents feel is too expensive.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a supporter of the busway, said failure to approve the funding could have caused the state to lose nearly $460 million in federal funding.
Malloy, who also serves as chairman of the bond commission, said the busway will relieve traffic congestion along Interstate 84. Construction of the project is expected to begin this summer
The entire project is estimated to cost more than $572 million and the federal government is expected to spend nearly $460 million.
Republican members of the commission said the cost is too high for only 9.4 miles of paved corridor.