The problem is no one has ever invested into the commercial space infrastructure. Honestly, that's the only thing I want the government to do, just like they did in 1862 with the Pacific Railway Act, where they loaned private business the funds necessary to build the transcontinental railroad. The businesses built the infrastructure, they paid the govt. back, and the govt. got free use of the system while the private industry made a boat load of cash using it commercially. Space is no different, but we treat it as if it is.
Here's a comparison: The average subsidy per mile of track laid by the Union and Central Pacific companies was $32,000 a mile. I'm taking a gross average here, because the breakdown was $16,000 per mile for easy grade, $32,000 for high plains and $48,000 in the mountains. The Union Pacific laid 1,087 miles of track and the Central Pacific laid 690 miles of track. That's 1,777 miles of track at roughly $32,000 a mile. That gives a total of $56,864,000 in 1864 dollars. What cost $56,864,000 in 1864 would cost $774,289,258 in 2008 as adjusted for inflation. $774 million.
Now look at land. Land has pristine value, and even more so after the railroads were complete. Entire modern day cities like Denver would not exist were it not for the railroad. From 1850-1871, the railroads received more than 175 million acres of public land - an area more than one tenth of the whole United States and larger than Texas. What do you think the cost per acre was back then...the value? In some parts of the country you could find land at $10 an acre, like rural Colorado, but in other parts it would be more expensive.
So let's say $100 per acre as an average considering the immediate jump in value the railway would give the land. It's not that much of a jump in logic. Even if the land started at $10 an acre, the fact that the Intercontinental Railroad now existed on that land would instantly increase its value significantly. So that's $17.5 billion in 1864 land value. Adjusted into 2008 dollars we're sitting at roughly $238,288,935,357 in 2008.
So what do we have? $774 million in loans and $238 billion in land. The land value dwarfs the loan value, but to be precise, we're sitting at $239,063,224,615 in total cost to set up the railway infrastructure. $239 billion!!!
$239 billion in loans to space based companies would build fuel depots, better launch systems, better spacecraft, destinations like orbiting hotels, a new space station, a Moon Base, etc. If we were capable of doing this back then, why the hell aren't we capable of doing the same thing now for the establishment of the space infrastructure?