Ribosome biogenesis in eukaryotes is a highly regulated process involving hundreds of transiently associated proteins and RNAs. Although most of these assembly factors have been genetically linked to specific step(s) in the biogenesis pathway, their biochemical functions are generally unknown. Bms1, an essential protein in yeast, is the only known GTPase required for biosynthesis of the 40S ribosomal subunit and interacts with Rcl1, an essential protein suggested to be an endonuclease. Here, we show thermodynamic coupling in the binding of Bms1 to GTP, Rcl1, and U3 small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA), an essential RNA that base pairs to pre-rRNA. Rcl1 binding to preribosomes is severely limited in yeast cells expressing a Bms1 mutant defective for Rcl1 binding. Additionally, we provide evidence that the C-terminal domain of Bms1 acts as an intramolecular GTPase-activating protein. Together, these data suggest that Bms1 functions as a GTP-regulated switch to deliver Rcl1 to preribosomes, providing molecular insight into preribosome assembly.