A Twin Cities-area transit board on Wednesday approved $77 million in grant money to help fund several high-profile transit projects.

The Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), which includes representatives from Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties, approved:

• $32.2 million to the Metropolitan Council to be used for transit operating grants.

• $17.8 million for the proposed $1.5 billion Blue Line Extension (Bottineau) light-rail line, linking downtown Minneapolis to Brooklyn Park. The funds will be used for project development and environmental review.

• $10.7 million for the $150 million Orange Line bus-rapid transit, linking downtown Minneapolis to Burnsville along Interstate 35W, for project development and environmental review.

• $10.2 million for the Northstar Commuter Rail. The funds will help pay for construction of safety improvements to separate commuter rail and freight rail traffic from car traffic on Hanson Boulevard in Coon Rapids.

• $5.4 million for the proposed $485 million Gateway Corridor Gold Line bus-rapid transit project, which would connect Union Station in St. Paul to Woodbury. The money will be awarded after the project is accepted into the Federal Transit Administration’s project development pipeline.

• $2.3 million for a $25 million overhaul of the Mall of America transit station. The funds are intended to speed Metro Transit’s Red Line travel times between the mall and Apple Valley, and improve safety near the Blue Line light-rail tracks.

• $1.48 million in Washington County guaranteed grants to support transit-oriented development planning and other projects for the Gateway Corridor Gold Line project. Funds will also be used to support station-area planning and ridership models for the Red Rock Corridor, a proposed 30-mile transitway connecting the southeastern suburbs to St. Paul and Minneapolis.