General Motors will provide up to $US7m in additional financial aid and transitional assistance for nearly 500 workers it will leave without jobs as it closes its aging Powertrain plant in a small upstate New York community, state governor Eliot Spitzer announced on Thursday.

The package includes contributions of $60,000 per year for five years to local charities and also commits GM to helping local officials implement a property redevelopment programme for the Massena site, fully fund an engineering re-use study and develop a redevelopment strategy, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

“GM was a major presence in Massena for almost 50 years. While a number of factors made it impossible to continue that presence, the company is going beyond its contractual obligations to provide some additional assistance to the community,” Spitzer reportedly said.

The news agency noted that GM announced in May it would phase out work at the Massena plant by the end of 2008 as part of a shift toward more precision-oriented manufacturing technologies. The 48-year-old factory would be too costly to modernise, GM was reported to have said.