A 17-kilometre rapid bus transit project in Gatineau has been given the official go-ahead by municipal officials.

At a news conference Friday, the city announced that it will invest $49 million in the Société de transport de l'Outaouais Rapibus project and Quebec officials confirmed that the province will pay an additional $146 million.

Benoit Pelletier, the provincial minister responsible for the Outaouais, said he is disappointed the project won't connect directly to Ottawa, but Gatineau couldn't wait any longer for Ottawa officials to make up their minds about the future of their public transit system.

"We have to talk about the link with the province of Ontario and the city of Ottawa in particular," he said. "At the same time it is clear that the Outaouais has some of its own priorities."

The new project will involve a dedicated bus corridor with 12 stations, connecting the eastern side of Gatineau district to Hull district.

It is expected to be completed by the fall of 2010.