Boeing and Space Exploration Technologies are expected to split an award from NASA worth as much as $1B. The purpose of this award is to provide seed money for the development of private space travel, with the eventual hope that NASA can subcontract out flights to the International Space Station. Currently, NASA needs the Russian space agency to get people into orbit, now that the Space Shuttle is retired. NASA's plan is to simply buy tickets on private spaceflights in order to get into orbit.
Boeing is an obvious choice, given that they are the world leader in aeronautical technologies. Recently, they built the X-37B, an robotic space plane used by the Air Force for unknown purposes. If anyone is to every build a reliable, single stage to orbit space plane, it will probably be Boeing.
Space X recently had great success with its Dragon capsule, using it to dock with the space station and unload supplies autonomously. Later, they will use it to ferry people around. They are also plotting a design for a heavy lift rocket. Given the absolutely stunning rise of Space X, they are also a good choice for grants.
The history of aviation is an odd one. Usually, advances are driven by private industry. The government provides the funding by buying the planes private industry produces. Boeing, for example, made stunning advances in aeronautical technology over the years. However, they were only able to fund these operations initially because the Air Force was willing to buy the planes. Now, Boeing is the dominant commercial plane maker, and is one of the largest manufacturers in the entire world.
It seems this same model will be repeated for the privatization of space.