This guest post is from Faye Nelson, Vice president, DTE Energy Co., President and board chairman, DTE Energy Foundation

After nearly three years of construction – and many more before that in planning – Detroit’s QLINE opens to the public on the evening of May 12. In addition to my role as vice president of DTE Energy and board chair and president of the DTE Energy Foundation, I’ve been proud to serve on the Board of M1 Rail, the organization responsible for the construction and management of the QLINE.

This is an extraordinary project, not only because it connects the Boulevard to the Riverfront, but also because the opening of the project demonstrates just how far we’ve come in establishing successful public/private partnerships.

Historically, the public sector had the financial wherewithal to fund infrastructure projects similar to the QLINE without much, if any, private investment.  However, in the early to mid-2000s as public dollars became increasingly scarce — particularly in harder hit areas like Detroit — public and private entities began working together more aggressively in order to move communities forward. This was the genesis of the kind of partnership that has made the QLINE a reality and it will be the foundation upon which many more high-profile projects will become a reality.

On May 12, when the first official riders of the QLINE climb aboard, they will be focused on the experience of riding a modern streetcar. Those of us who have been deeply involved in the project for years however, may have a slightly different perspective. We’ll realize that we are witnessing the manifestation of a powerful public/private partnership and we’ll envision the anticipated $3 billion in development along the QLINE that is projected in ten years. These streetcars are more than simply a mode of transportation to move through our City – it is a template for moving our City forward.

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