I don't want to say it, but does it look like its a case of if a commercially run operation can do it for cheaper and with less red tape, would it make another organisation seem inept?
Well, nobody said anything about "more efficient" or "less red tape". The numbers are not much lower than what NASA needed to keep the operation going. Budgeting was NOT the issue and the more difficult tech and logistic part was not the reason either. Those parts were solved with the necessary money being made available commercially, the operational costs covered with commitments from service provided to NASA, but not only. I assume that the necessary experienced staff is not lacking either, considering the thousands which have been fired with the conclusion of the STS program.
Sadly, the reasons for derailing this attempt are much more frustrating than this, desktopsimmer
I hope that those responsible for this political decision, will pay the ultimate political price, when time comes.