Bureaucrats enforcing the laws in foreign states require you to have a passport to enter the territory of their state. Further, to re-enter the U.S.A., you are required to have a U.S.A. passport.
There is no right to impose a fee for a U.S.A. passport, any more than there is a right to impose a fee to register to vote. The fee imposed is blatantly unjust and must be repealed.
A passport is an excellent form of identification. The renewal process needs to be modified so that you keep your previous passport until the new passport is ready to pick up in person. That way, you dont have to spend a few weeks with no passport, where there is a risk you may suddenly need to travel abroad for a funeral or some other emergency.
Requiring personal delivery would also help deter passport fraud. Passport delivery stations would have a federal cop waiting to arrest you if you show up to get your passport after fraudulently applying. That is better than mailing your passport to an address where somebody you know allows you to use their address and will deliver the passport package to you if the fraudulent application is successful, but would deny any knowledge if your fraudulent statements are detected.
The Trump Administration latest hate crime is positively unexcusable. The Washington Post reports that holders of Texas birth certificates are being denied U.S. passports out of suspicion that a midwife may have filed the birth record falsely. That is no good. The birth certificate is prima facie evidence of birth in Texas. The Post reports that people are having unexpired passports revoked without a trial, and are stuck in Mexico. What if Mexico will not take them? Anulling a birth certificate is serious, and the individual is entitled to due process. The burden of proof must be on the government.