Portland Oregon's light rail is routinely held up as the prime example of a delightfully working urban passenger rail system. I always find it worthwhile to look at the financial reports put out by the operators, just to see how wonderfully they work.
In the case of Portland, the operating budget shakes out like this for 2011 (Their fiscal year ends June 30):
24% of its operating budget came from passenger fares
8% from other transportation revenues
68% came from a variety of subsidies
Info from TriMet's website and balance sheet.
That's just to say that it doesn't work. They show you that with plain facts on their own site. It has nothing to do with the perspective that it's wrong besides. The transfer of wealth from those who don't ride to those who do is unjust.
Indy's newly re-elected Republican Mayor Greg Ballard wants to repeat this mistake.