At a charged meeting in the City Chambers this afternoon, the proposals won the backing of all parties except the SNP who said the controverisal scheme remained flawed.
The decision means councillors have now approved the business case and preferred contractors for the project.
The project will come back to the council again in December for further updates on the financial position but contracts are expected to be signed in January with work beginning in earnest the following month.
Councillors also agreed to calls from the city's Tories for an independent review of the risks to the council on the city's own 45m contribution to the airport-to-Newhaven route.
Councillor Phil Wheeler, the city's transport leader, hailed today's decision as a "historic moment" in the city's history.
He added: "I can't wait to see trams running commercially on our streets by 2012. There has been a lot of hard work gone into the project and I am sure it will be a credit to not just Edinburgh but Scotland."