A consortium led by Parsons Transportation Group Inc., Washington, D.C., has won a $1.46-billion, design-build-operate-maintain contract for 20 miles of light-rail lines in downtown Houston. It is the Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) of Harris County’s largest contract. The Houston Rapid Transit JV also includes Granite Construction Co., Watsonville, Calif.; Kiewit Texas Construction, Fort Worth; and Stacy and Witbeck Inc., Alameda, Calif. The team will extend the north, east-end, southeast and uptown lines; build storage and inspection facilities; construct 32 stations; and renovate an existing operations center. METRO selected the runner-up Parsons team after breaking off talks with Boise-based Washington Group International after two years of talks. The two sides were “hundreds of millions” apart on project costs and assumed risks, says an industry source. WGI received $77 million for its preliminary design and engineering work. The project will create 60,000 jobs and is scheduled to finish by 2012