Fees at the Washington State Department of Licensing increased Oct. 1, 2012. If you’ve gone to the driver’s licensing office in recent days, you were probably met with an unpleasant surprise. Several licensing fees have gone up, starting this month, raising drivers license renewals from $25 to $45 and the cost of a new license from $45 to $80.Washington lawmakers passed two bills raising licensing and vehicle fees to bring in an estimated $52.8 million in 2013 to fund the operation and maintenance of roads, streets, bridges, ferries, transit systems and other transportation services. This is the first licensing fee increase since 2000.House Bill 2660 and Senate House Bill 6150 increased the vehicle fees and also authorized the implementation of a facial recognition matching system for driver’s licenses, permits and ID cards. When the program is put into place, drivers will have the option of adding a biometric identifier to their license or ID card that uses facial recognition technology to verify identity. About 34 states already use a facial recognition program.To warn drivers about the fee spike, the Washington State Department of Licensing put up signs at licensing offices and told people in their renewal notices, said DOL spokeswoman Christine Anthony. “I think a lot of people tried to get their renewals in before the deadline,” she said.Phil Block posted on The Columbian’s Facebook page that he made sure to get his license renewed before his Oct. 8 birthday, just to avoid the additional costs. Amanda Center also posted, saying she tried to get her son’s licensing appointment for September, but there was too much demand for driver’s testing. Her son got his license last Wednesday at a cost of $80, instead of the $45 it would have cost last month.