Very sad and frustrating, but certainly not surprising. Very few things that the govt. can do better than the private sector, maybe national defense and protection of private property rights. The list drops off very quick after that. ;-(
If any of you had ever worked for a federal or state agency, you would understand completely. Incompetent doesn't even start to cover it. Red tape doesn't even start to cover it.
In addition, vendors are chosen by people who do not know what they're doing, and the vendors rob them blind. There are few checkpoints, there is no one on the client side that can tell when something is not happening. They "trust" the vendor PM to manage the project.
On the vendor side, they have to deal with territorial, ignorant, nasty politics that require every single move to be approved by 47 levels of sign-off.
This is the primary reason I left consulting. My next gig was going to be a large federal project; I couldn't face another one....there isn't enough money in the world to pay me to do another one. That would include 474 million.