Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the project would literally change the face of the Gold Coast, and become an iconic piece of transport and tourist infrastructure.
"The Gold Coast is one of Australia's fast growing regions, welcoming 15,000 new residents each year," Mr Fraser said.
"Rapid Transit will replace up to 75 million car trips in the first ten years of operation, cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 114,000 tonnes.
"This is the sort of project that a modern, growing region needs."
Mr Fraser said the eagerly anticipated project had been refined as a result of industry consultation, and would now go to market as a two stage project.
"We originally considered a three stage project, with early works, civil construction and operator franchise packages.
"But we know the Gold Coast needs jobs now, so we've beefed up the early works package to deliver more employment opportunities for locals."
Mr Fraser said the operator franchise would go out to expressions of interest immediately as a public private partnership (PPP).
The operator franchise will establish a long-term partnership between the City and a world-standard light rail operator.
"We've had interest from some of the best international light rail operators, who want to be part of this exciting new project.
"We will deliver the latest, cutting edge technology for the Gold Coast - a project that will become the envy of Australia."
Mr Fraser said tenders for early works had already been called.
"These jobs will start flowing soon, with tenders already called for the works on the station at the new 750 bed University Hospital.
"This first contract will be followed by tenders for a range of works that can start quickly , including road widening, intersection upgrades and the relocation of public utilities.
"These contracts will provide a shot in the arm for the Gold Coast construction industry, which accounts for 12% of the City's total employment."
Interested companies can register on the project's online local industry register at www.goldcoastrapidtransit.qld.gov.au.
Gold Coast Rapid Transit is a 13 kilometre light rail project linking the commercial and retail centres of Southport, Surfers Paradise and Broadbeach in Australia's sixth largest city.
It is a partnership between three levels of government, with funding from the Queensland Government, Australian Government and Gold Coast City Council.